A good day for pluviophiles

Well, actually, even I find this weather kind of frightening. It is monsooning outside right now. As in, I’m pretty sure if I walked out of my building I’d drown.

Anyway, this means that WORD Vancouver is being moved indoors — so you can still come see us tomorrow but we’ll likely be inside.

Oh, right — we’ll be at WORD tomorrow. Not sure if I mentioned that. I probably didn’t, because I spent this week getting my FACE EATEN by the work I had to do in prep for WORD. Beeg [bada boom] publishing order had to be completed and then I had to finish editing Stranger Skies so I could get the ARC out to winners and people who helped me with the cover reveal.

(If I missed you in that email — please let me know. My brain is basically dead right now and I’m not even sure what my name is. Awesome McBitchpants? Something like that.)

Who is we? Kat and Wolff, obviously, and the Powell River Live Poets’ Guild and International Peace Poem and Youth Peace Poem Competition. We’re big on peace. And literacy.

Right now I am trying to give my brain a desperately needed break after going through editing hell over the past two days. Mainly by watching Angel and Buffy on Netflix. Don’t judge me. I never got to see them in the order they aired (I watched Angel before Buffy and marathon-ed both shows) so I’m re-watching them in order. I wish Netflix would make this a bit easier by allowing you to create playlists but it doesn’t. C’est la vie.

Also, yes, that annoying box at the top of each page on this blog will be there until October 4th. Sorry. Actually, not sorry, ignore that reflexive Canadianism.

And finally, in honor of Banned Books Week (which I totally missed thanks to work), here are my favourite three lines from the poem “Voice” by Kaimana Wolff (found in the witless poisoner).

This flesh is made of words:
light me and I will burn
like a brave, banned book

-Kat

Oh Dear Gods, Why Am I Still Up?

Site news, new sites, a makeover to my mom’s blog, coffee, insomnia, workaholism, NaNoWriMo, Literary+, Smoke and Shadows, bugs, boobs…you know. The usual.

This is what I get for drinking three cups of coffee in the morning. Coffee, plus “Oh, I’ll just work for a few minutes…” when I got home from my boyfriend’s place at 12:30am.

FOUR HOURS LATER…we find our heroine still sitting and working.

I’m a workaholic. I admit it. I have a problem. I get into a flow and I just keep working and don’t even look up or think about eating or peeing or sleeping. Then suddenly my eyes will flick innocently upwards, and I’ll catch the time in my glance. And I’ll pronounce, with great solemn dignity, “What the everloving fuck.”

And then I stumble to bed and collapse and sleep all day. When I get up I will proceed to vegetate for several hours, until I fall asleep at some ungodsly hour again. This will continue until I finally right my schedule to one where I’m waking up before noon, and for the days that happens I actually manage to be productive, until I get into a flow too late at night and…. Lather, rinse, repeat.

On the plus side, I do have something to show for my toil. PresentingKatje Writes. A brand spankin’ new site that showcases all most of my writing in one, easy to find place. At Katje Writes you will find Bellica‘s first 11 chapters, as well as various bits of fiction and poetry on the main site, and last but not least, my stories for Smoke and Shadows.

I mentioned it once before that Smoke and Shadows was a series of short stories written by Literary+ authors. Long story short is that Literary+ is going in different directions, but enough of us decided we wanted to continue with S&S, and we did. So far there’s only the one story up, but expect more after NaNoWriMo is over. (Oh, and you should go read Sanna’s posts at her blog. She writes about Witches too!)

But wait! There’s more!

Continue reading “Oh Dear Gods, Why Am I Still Up?”

Documentary Filmmaking is not for control freaks or cripples

Last week I went up to Powell River, where I was supposed to film some things. Communication was sketchy that first week and I didn’t fully understand what I’d be doing until the end of the weekend — namely, a ten-minute documentary — but regardless, I got some good shots.

A new camera was in order, as the one I was using was 12 years old and guess what — they don’t make tape for it anymore. (We do have access to a firewire to grab the two hours of tape I did manage to shoot, so that’s all good.) As was a new tripod, because when you take long sabbaticals from filmmaking and move a bunch things go missing.

I had to film in an elementary school where Margriet Ruurs was doing workshops on poetry as part of the International Peace Poem Walkers’ Association’s Youth Peace Poem Competition and literacy initiative. The documentary itself is about the Youth Peace Poem Competition and how it — and the workshops funded by it — have positive impacts on the kids and the community.

[The showing of the documentary will be on May 31st, during the awards ceremony. For pretty much every weekend in May I’ll be in Powell River filming and editing, and I have class from 9-4 on Mondays and Wednesdays in Nanaimo (my final class before graduation with my BA).]

First lesson about documentaries: they are organic creatures. You can set out with an idea of what you want to say, and how you want to say it, but you won’t actually know for sure how it’ll play out until you’ve started filming. Buy enough film (or memory, I guess, is how they do it on the new future cameras they got) to canvas an entire continent, every day, all day for several months. And about ten extra batteries.

Second lesson:  you have to be ready for action. That means you must be able to catch things on the spur of the moment; have to be able to drive anywhere, get into any sort of position, run with your camera.

Third lesson: it is like herding cats. Especially when you’re filming in an elementary school, just saying.

Things you should know about me:

  • I am a control freak the likes of which would scare Monica Gellar.
  • I am crippled. Or, you know, disabled, non-able-bodied, whatever is the most acceptable term. I prefer the term cripple, because it’s how I feel. (Also it creates a bit of an alliteration in the title of this blog post, which is important to me.) I also have a lot of chronic health issues, which adds to the feeling. Regardless, the point is I cannot run with a camera; I walk with a cane; I am not able-bodied enough to really be ready for action. I am also a dense thicket in marshy land.

Continue reading “Documentary Filmmaking is not for control freaks or cripples”

Rainy Fall Friday

Apologies for low quality of photo; taken w/ phone.

I was walking home from my friend’s house (she gave me a partial ride home from school; we only live a block away) and in my alleyway a tree has shed its summer skin.

There was a meadow made on the asphalt, all yellow, orange, red, brown. Leaves everywhere. Not dead, not alive — hovering in that space between.

I caught myself wishing that it was always Autumn — a liminal season being one I’m more comfortable in. But I know that if it were always fall, it wouldn’t be as special.

So now I must make every day before Monday, before Samhain and the beginning of Winter, when the old Hag takes over — now I must make every day last as long as possible, so I can savor the season.

30 in 30: Day 16 (democracy has miles to go before we can sleep)

Favourite Poem or Collection of Poetry

This is a difficult one. I don’t have many favourite poems as I have favourite poets, and when I look at their works there are a few poems that jump out at me.

So I have two.

The first is by Langston Hughes.

Democracy

Democracy will not come
Today, this year
Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.

I have as much right
As the other fellow has
To stand
On my two feet
And own the land.

I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I’m dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.

Freedom
Is a strong seed
Planted
In a great need.

I live here, too.
I want freedom
Just as you.

The second is by Robert Frost.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

These two poets are not my only favourites — I’m also very fond of Emily Dickinson — but they are the ones whose poems came to mind for this post. They are definitely masters of the craft. These poems are so simple, and yet so poignant. They do not waste breath with unnecessary chatter.

The art of poetry lies within the ability to prune.

Within the ability to stop.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day….

2009 was a fairly productive year, writing-wise. I finished Bellica, started and finished Snowbound, and started The Jade Star of Athering. I also wrote a few poems, published a book of poetry, and reached a total of 156,732 for my yearly word count. I didn’t make my goal of 200,000, but I’m not too concerned about the 43,268 difference. It was a difficult year and I think I far surpassed my own expectations; the fact that I didn’t make it doesn’t discredit my valiant attempt. (Also, 70,000+ words in July is nothing to sneeze at.)

I have the same goal for 2010, as far as word count goes, and I intend to make it this year (mainly by being more on top of the word counts early on in the year). I also wish to make more blog posts here, on top of my story goals (listed below for convenience).

  1. Finish editing Parts 2 and 3 of Bellica and upload to site.
  2. Finish The Jade Star of Athering.
  3. Finish The Man of Bronze.
  4. Finish Islands of Fire and Water.
  5. Start that new story idea in November.
  6. Publish Bellica in hardcopy.
  7. Write Snowbound sequel (?).

The last one has a question mark because Dear Gods I am busy this year, and seriously wish to be less insane.

I’d also like to branch socially as a writer more, but I’m such a damn recluse and so intolerant of most people in all groups that I move in that I’m scared this may backfire on me terribly. Or I’ll meet another writer as snarky and reclusive as I am, and we shall become great friends and dominate the world of something. Trufax.

I also want to crochet more, and improve my knitting, but that has nothing to do with writing. Too many projects. Too much creativity. I’m having a small meltdown, I think.

So. Off to bed, and tomorrow is a fresh day that I shall sleep through. As is my wont.

-Katje

Poems

In case you go looking for the second poem I mentioned in my last entry, it’s not up. I deleted it because I realized it needed more work and wasn’t ready for public consumption just yet.

BSG was fucking phenomenal. That show has changed my life. I never thought I’d say that about a TV show, but there you go. Some of the things said…profound. And epic and heart-breakingly beautiful. I sobbed. That is the sign of a good story.

Obviously I’m too tired to speak coherently at this point,  so I’m going to sign off. Tomorrow: finish glasstown, write essays for class, and finish editing/rewriting Part 1 of Bellica.

New Poems!

I wrote two more poems today, bringing me a third of the way to my year’s goal. View can be read here, and my Hierophant meets my High Priestess: all bets called off is scheduled for tomorrow.

I think I may put my most recent poems into glasstown as well; I need to add more to it. Make it thicker. And a lot of my old stuff is just crap.

July word count: 76,346 words
YTD count: 124,301

Still working on edits for Bellica; maybe done by August 5th? That’s my hope. I also have essays to write for class and a final to study for, so that is kind of my priority as I need to have at least a 9 GPA this intersession (for those of you used to the US 0 – 4.0 system, here we use a 0 – 10 system; I’ll outline it now).

10     A+
9       A
8       A-
———-
7      B+
6      B
5      B-
———
4     C+
3     C
2     C-
——–
1     D
——–
0    F

The “A” section is considered “First Class,” the “B” section “Second Class,” the “C” and “D” sections “Pass,” and the F is of course Fail. At this point I have a 7 — a B+. I would need to get a 10 each semester for the next four years in order to get a 9 GPA before I grad. Meaning I’d need at least 95% in each class.

I want to get that sort of GPA because it helps when one is looking into doing a secondary degree, and I may want my Master’s at some point so I can teach. I sort of have that desire somewhere in me.

So that’s a long-winded way of saying “School takes priority right now; sorry guys.” But after this class I have a month off before I start courses again, so I will be writing like a fiend in that time. (You know in between all the other things I have planned like DRAGON*CON.)

And I am off because tonight is Battlestar Galactica night; we’re about to finish the final season and WE ARE SO EXCITED.

-Katje